The bass player is also a fashion designer

 The bass player is also a fashion designer

When Widowspeak hit xBk in Des Moines on May 12 as part of the current U.S. tour, bassist Willy Muse wasn’t too far from home.

He is now based in the Ames area, even though he played with the Brooklyn -based band for a decade. How he became a part of the band could also be the subject of one of their psychedelic dream pop tunes.

Muse was a fan of the band, and while working in New York as a fashion designer for J. Crew after graduating from Iowa State University, they shot a music video in his converted loft residence. . When the band started looking for a new bassist, a friend suggested Muse.

“Think,” Muse said, “he’s never heard me actually play bass. I would never call myself a bassist. Muse, though, knows that everyone agrees, and likes he was into their music. So he told them it was “perfect,” and the next day he quit his job and bought a better bass. “It’s still the same bass I play now, after ten years,” he said. .

At its core, Widowspeak is the creative project of singer-songwriters Robert Earl Thomas and Molly Hamilton.

The band released their self-titled debut album in 2011 to critical acclaim. The lone “Harsh Realm” was featured in an episode of the television series American Horror Story. They have traveled to almost every state and almost every country in Europe. On today’s tour, the band added a keyboard player, John Andrews, along with some backing vocals, and Muse believes this is the band’s best soundtrack.

Widowspeak’s current tour promoting the new album, “The Jacket,” began in Brooklyn, falling off the coast to Florida, then across to the South. While in Florida, a couple of Muse’s bandmates tested positive for COVID-19, and the band had to cancel some dates. They quickly recovered and got back on track, though, with everyone excited to play songs from the new album. “It’s so beautiful,” Muse said enthusiastically.

When the Widowspeak tour is over, Muse will return to Iowa and his childhood home. In addition to his work in the fashion industry, he is now the house DJ at a new drag club in Ames called Big Wigs. Muse was by the name of “DJ Big Willy” there, using his experience to DJ and do drag shows in Brooklyn, but he was ready for the next tour of Widowspeak.

“We’re a small family, and it’s really nice to feel like hanging out with your best friends and playing music,” Muse said.

Widowspeak plays xBk in Des Moines May 12. The show begins at 8 p.m.

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